We're meeting with our Cell group leaders this evening for a pre-launch of our church Action Plan, if you're interested, here's the process we've been through:
January 07 - Church council away day, identifying key areas for developing the life and mission of the church, and ideas for how we can make progress in these areas. We ended up with 5 key areas:
- Improving our Space (various issues in the church building)
- Growing Cells (helping our cell groups to grow as centres of mission and ministry)
- Children and Families (putting more resources into links with the local school, parent/toddler groups, and families in the local area)
- Making Worship Work for All (exploring new styles of worship, making better use of the gifts people offer, making the experience of worship more welcoming for newcomers)
- Outreach (more support for baptisms, weddings and funerals, making more of the seasons and festivals of the year, etc.)
Feb-March: working through the ideas from the away day and developing a plan for progressing them.
May: put together main report, financial report, response forms (time & skills, finance) into Action Packs, which everyone in church will get on Sunday. All cell members will get them through cell group leaders, the idea is that they discuss and pray through the reports together, and the cells look at whether there are particular things they want to do as a group (e.g. run marriage preparation, host an Alpha course etc.) Everyone who doesn't pick one up on Sunday will get them hand delivered over the next couple of days.
June: deadline for returning response forms 3 weeks after giving them out - this will be June 10th. On the 17th we'll have a thanksgiving for the responses people have made.
June - July: the church Council have been put into 5 Task Groups, one for each of the 5 key areas: task group members will follow up the offers of help people have given, so that by September we're ready to get started with some of the new things we want to do.
There'll probably be a Phase 2 in early 2008 - various bits of work are going to take time, e.g. a feasibility study on whether we could employ a full time worker with families, putting together plans for the development of the church building, and by then we'll have a good idea of what fruit there's been from the Action Plan.
If the process works, it'll probably be something I develop for other local churches to use in putting together their own Mission Action Plans.
And finally a disclaimer: we've not worked out this process ourselves, a lot of it is cribbed from something that John Roberts, the Durham Diocese stewardship adviser, does with parish churches in his Diocese.